I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain first, because it was a suggestion I couldn’t refuse. Second because I could, which is a privilege in itself. But thirdly to raise funds for the struggling Saartjie Baartman Centre for abused women in Cape Town where the residents would have no such privilege. I thought of those women often on The Way and in their name, added to the twig crosses threaded into field-side fences, lit candles for them in centuries old churches, left a brochure at the Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross) at the highest point, said prayers in the towering Cathedral of St James in Santiago and at the very end, at Finnisterre, picked a bunch of wild flowers, bound them round with our gender empowerment bracelets and laid them next to a small shrine, with love.
To give you a flavour in case the Camino is something that’s on your list, here are just a few of the hundreds of pics I took – there are also plans for a presentation at the Centre itself in July, so if you’re interested, let me know, and I hope to write more about ‘Women on The Way’ soon too. Meantime, so far we’ve raised around R17,700 on the www.backabuddy.co.za site with another R20,000 from an anonymous donor to help the Centre in Mannenberg on the Cape Flats stay open. But there’s a long way to go. Just spoken to director Synnov Skorge who says the public have been very generous – two young boys from the Mannenberg community even came in with their pocket money! Sadly the Department of Social Development and the Lottery are dragging their heels on making any financial commitments. So who does take responsibility for victims of domestic violence? In the Constitution, every person, every woman has a ‘right to freedom and security of the person, a right to have their dignity respected and protected, be free from all forms of violence from public or private sources, not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.’ Not sure what the answer is….but big thanks to all who’ve made donations and been with us in spirit along The Way. Couldn’t have done it without you. Biggest thanks of all to walking buddies Odette and John-Joe – lasting memories. nxx